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Recommendations for bridging the digital divide in Portland

An illustration of a rope bridge against a blue background. The text reads, "Report | Bridging the Digital Divide with the Center for Inclusive Innovation."
Jul 21, 2022
2 minute read
Digital Inclusion

In 2020, the Center for Inclusive Innovation, an organization fiscally sponsored by NTEN, began a research project to assess both pandemic crisis-based and longer-term efforts to mitigate digital disparities. This project documents the experiences of more than twenty organizations that attempted to adapt or improve strategies and services to address the digital divide during the pandemic as short-term, crisis-funded deployments ended.

An illustration of a rope bridge against a blue background. The text reads, "Report | Bridging the Digital Divide with the Center for Inclusive Innovation."

Researchers gathered information showing that those efforts resulted in tens of thousands of Portland regional residents receiving aid in digital connectivity and access to needed services. There are substantial examples of success with programs having a positive impact. However, they also provide a picture of siloed efforts due to a lack of regional coordination. For instance, community-based organizations working in multiple jurisdictions such as Multnomah and Washington Counties, the City of Portland, Beaverton, and Gresham, had to navigate not only Federal requirements but also parallel but different local service delivery requirements. In the future, however, as all organizations have common goals under the Digital Equity Action plan, there are opportunities for better coordination and cooperation.

The findings from this research project and recommendations for action by governments, philanthropy, community-based organizations, and coalitions are collected in the following publication. 

Download the reportDownload a summary
Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson

Social Alchemist,

First and foremost, I'm a Social Alchemist — a person keenly interested in the life, welfare, and relations of individuals and communities. I see relationships, innovation, and entrepreneurship as the vehicles which allow communities to reach their full potential. It is all about inclusion. Unlike diversity, which is about bringing a wide array of people and their differences to the table, inclusion allows everyone, particularly those different from the group or culture in power, to be valued and bring their entire selves to the table with the opportunity to participate fully as decision-makers. Diversity is a milestone. Inclusion is the destination.

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